Newsweek Attacks Oprah Winfrey and BioIdentical Hormones by Jeffrey Dach MD
Oprah’s TV show advocates Natural Medicine and Bioidentical Hormones in direct competition to the interests of the Pharmaceutical Industry that makes synthetic hormones. Newsweek is merely an attack dog for the drug industry. A typical issue of Newsweek magazine contains $2 million in pharma ads,
Left Image: Cover of Newsweek depicting unflattering image of Oprah as a witch. Courtesy of Newsweek.
Smash and Grab the Loaf of Bread
To make matters worse, all print media is suffering from declining readership, a casualty of the Internet Revolution. According to the LA Times, Newsweek is starving along with the rest of the print media, with declining readership and declining ad revenue. Rather than ponder ethical standards, a starving homeless man will smash and grab the loaf of bread in the bakery window. It’s the same for Newsweek, a magazine described as “an infomercial masquerading as medical news” and “an example of corruption in journalism”.
Five national consumer organizations have complained about Newsweek. They have charged Newsweek magazine with unethical journalism in the promotion of the drug industry’s agenda. Specifically, Newsweek ran a special edition, entitled Health for Life, paid for by the drug industry’s PhRMA. Newsweek promotes a biased drug agenda, all the while pretending to be impartial and objective. This is truely deceptive.
Above left image: Where’s the Bread, Man?
Oprah is Immensely Popular
With a personal fortune of 2.7 billion, and 40 million weekly viewers, Oprah Winfrey is immensely popular. Her O magazine sells 2 million copies a month and her new cable television channel will reach 70 million homes.
Left Image: A more flattering image of Oprah Winfrey courtesy of the Oprah web site.
Why is Oprah so popular? I suggest it is because Oprah is a champion of the interests of the people. In this case she has championed Natural Medicine and Bioidentical Hormones, topics which are immensely popular with the public.
Is Oprah hurt or concerned about the photo on the Newsweek Cover? In this new day of viral marketing, any publicity is good publicity, including this Newsweek hatchet job article. I suspect Oprah is laughting all the way to the bank.
Suzanne Somers – Advocate of BioIdentical Hormones
Left Image: Suzanne Somers arch-enemy of the synthetic hormone drug company, Wyeth. Her books on bioidentical hormones have cost the Drug Industry millions of dollars in lost revenue. Image Courtesy of Suzanne Somers Blog.
Just Another Misinformation Campaign in a Medical Information War Between Natural Medicine and Big Pharma.
Newsweek Reaches a New Low in Tabloid Journalism with Smears, Lies and Falsehoods
For those of you interested in the actual details of the Newsweek article lies and deceptions, I have itemized a few of them for you below:
1) Newsweek says: “bioidentical hormones are unregulated”.
This is an outright falsehood. Compounded bioidentical hormones are highly regulated at all levels. Just walk into a pharmacy and ask the pharmacist in charge about the regulations. There are literally hundreds of them. They are regulated up the Wazoo from start to finish at county, state and federal levels. And yes, bio-identical hormones ARE FDA approved.
The following is a list of FDA-approved bio-identical hormone commercial products available at the drugstore commonly used to treat menopause and andropause:
Alora (estradiol): FDA approved 1996 – Watson Labs
Climara (estradiol): FDA approved 1994 – Bayer
FemPatch : FDA approved 1997 – Parke Davis
Vivelle-Dot (estradiol): FDA approved 1994 – Novartis
Estraderm: FDA approved 1986 – Novartis
Esclim: FDA approved 1998 – Women’s First Healthcare
Estrace (estradiol): FDA approved 1993 -Bristol Myers Squibb
Estring: FDA approved 1996 – Pharmacia UpJohn
Prometrium (natural progesterone): FDA approved 1998 – Solvay
Androgel (natural testosterone): FDA approved 2000 – Unimed Pharmaceuticals
Crinone: FDA approved 1997 – Columbia Labs
FDA approved Estradiol containing products:Estrace, Progynova, estrofem, Alora, Climara, Vivelle, Vivelle-Dot, Menostar, Estraderm TTS Estrasorb Topical, Estrogel, Elestrin, Lunelle Estring, Femring
FDA approved Progesterone products Prometrium, Utrogestan, Minagest, Microgest, CRINONE, PROCHIEVE, Cyclogest
FDA approved testosterone:Testoderm, Androderm, AndroGel
The Newsweek deception is this: Newsweek says that there is no FDA approval for Compounded hormones. Yes this is correct. That’s because compounding is not required to be FDA approved. Instead, compounding is regulated by other state and local agencies.
2) Newsweek says: “Somers is simply repackaging the old, discredited idea that menopause is some kind of hormone-deficiency disease, and that restoring them will bring back youth,” says Dr. Nanette Santoro, director of reproductive endocrinology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and head of the Reproductive Medicine Clinic at Montefiore Medical Center.”
This is another outright falsehood. Menopause is characterized by hormone deficiency, and this is the absolute truth proven by lab tests I see every day. This idea has not been discredited. Well, maybe Newsweek wants the public to think so.
Here we see a typical switch tactic by Newsweek. Newsweek is attempting to confuse the public about two very different types of hormones. Synthetic hormones are the monster hormones. Bio-identical hormones are the good ones that I recommend.
Yes, Newsweek is correct that synthetic monster hormones (such as Provera) are associated with cancer and heart disease. However, Newsweek has not told the public the truth, that bio-identical hormones are safe and are not associated with increased risk of cancer or heart disease. Obviously that would displease their drug industry masters.
3) Newsweek says: “And despite Somers’ claim that her non-FDA-approved bioidenticals are “natural” and safer, they are actually synthetic, just like conventional hormones and FDA-approved bioidenticals from pharmacies—and there are no conclusive clinical studies showing they are less risky. ”
This is outright deceitful and misleading. Number one, hormone raw materials are all FDA approved. Otherwise, they could not even be marketed in the US. ‘
Number two, Newsweek is trying to confuse the public into believing that synthetic chemically altered hormones (provera) are the same as bioidentical hormones. They are not. Synthetic means chemically altered, and this creates a monster hormone causing cancer and heart disease. Bio-identical Hormones are not chemically altered. They are identical to the hormones in the human body. The medical literature is replete with studies showing that bioidentical hormones are safe and effective, while, on the other hand, the chemically altered synthetic hormones are monsters and should never have been approved for human use.
4) Newsweek says:”Unless a woman has significant discomfort from hot flashes—and most women don’t—there is little reason to prescribe them.”
Newsweek is wrong again. Hot flashes are only one of many symptoms of estrogen deficiency, Other symptoms include vaginal dryness, sweats, difficulty sleeping, cognitive dysfunction, menopausal arthritis etc. These are all valid symptoms and good reasons for prescribing bioidentical hormones.
5) This Newsweek article also provided misinformation about iodine suplementation, an essential mineral added to table salt since 1924. Supplementation with Iodine is safe and beneficial for health, and highly recommended. See my article on Iodine Supplementation and Breast Cancer Prevention.
Follow the Money: Jake Crosby, a history student at Brandeis University, has this comment about Newsweek:
“Inside Newsweek Magazine, 10 of the 31 pages of ads are for pharma ads, 5 of them for Wyeth, including an inside-cover triple-page ad. Naturally, a failing magazine is going to want to receive more ad dollars by running more articles pleasing to sponsors. It seems practical and makes sense, though unethical, dishonest, defamatory and morally reprehensible all at the same time.”
5000 Lawsuits for Synthetic Hormones
“Perhaps Newsweek can also run an article on the 5000 lawsuits Wyeth is facing for the damages attributed to its own, admittedly unnatural, FDA-approved version (Prempro). If they did, it would help their case of proving Ms. Somers’ alleged belief wrong, that “the media” is “in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry.”
An Infomercial Masquarading as Medical News
“In a magazine filled with pharma ads, accused in 2001 by five consumer groups of breaching journalism ethics by working with the lobby group PhRMA, having a special advertising relationship with pharmaceutical corporations and allowing its publication to be used by pharma lobbyists for public relations purposes, Newsweek’s agenda is no secret. One consumer advocate described Newsweek as “an infomercial masquerading as medical news” and “an example of corruption in journalism. Newsweek has surrendered its professional credentials by shamelessly engaging in disease mongering aimed at increasing profits for the mental health industry.”
Above quoted from Jake Crosby.
Newsweek Writer, Pat Wingert, Also Wrote A Book (?) On Menopause
Pat Wingert, the co-writer of the Oprah-bashing Newsweek Article, also co-authored a book on menopause entitled, “Is it Hot in Here? Or is it me? The Complete Guide to Menopause” available on Amazon. This book advocates synthetic hormones and promotes a drug company agenda.
Left Image Pat Wingert. Right Image Pat’s book cover. Courtesy of Newsweek and Pat Wingert.
Book Reviews on Amazon – Pat Wingert’s Menopause Book
Here are a few unflattering book reviews on Amazon from people who do not apreciate a drug company propaganda book that pretends to be medical advice. These reader reviews give you an idea about the level of journalism we are dealing with:
Get This Book Off the Market
“I have been dealing with menopause for several years and this book in no way, shape or form helped me to find a cure for my symptoms. But then again why would I buy a book written by journalists about medical conditions?!?! And as a side, I have found that bio-identical hormones are the ONLY therapy that has saved my life, instead of “possibly” risking my life by taking synthetic hormones. Get this book off the market!
“This book is complete garbage! I agree with another reviewer who said that this book should be taken off the market. ”
“Let me save you the price of this book, This book (by Pat Wingert) was a total waste of my time and money.”
Where to Go For Medical Advice? Turn to these Medical Heroes.
Rather than get your medical advice from a light-weight tabloid journalist like Pat Wingert, who promotes a biased drug company agenda, I recommend Erika Schwartz MD, Kent Holtorf MD, and David Brownstein MD, three medical heroes with active bioidentical hormone practices. Erika’s comments about the Newsweek Oprah bashing article can be found here.
In her article, Dr. Erika reveals that she gave a lecture on bioidentical hormones at Harvard Med School in February 2, 2009, and the first slide of the talk was Oprah with Suzanne Somers. Dr. Erika then asked the chairman of the department of ob-gyn, Isaac Schiff, MD and the rest of the audience, ‘How come Suzanne Somers and Oprah are the ones to teach the public about bioidentical hormones? Oprah has stepped up to the plate and has given the public the missing information about bio-identical hormones. And the public has spoken. Oprah is their leader, not the American Medical Association.”
Left Above Image: Erika Schwartz MD, medical director of busy bioidentical hormone practice in Manhattan New York.
Erika Schwartz MD and Kent Holtorf MD Say BioIdentical Hormones are Safe and Effective.
Erika Schwartz and Kent Holtorf recently co-authored a chapter in Primary Care Clinics on Bioidentical Hormones. This is their conclusion:
“The current state of evidence demonstrates bioidentical hormones as a safe and effective option. Risks associated with the use of conjugated estrogen and progestins (synthetic monster hormones), including the increased risks of breast cancer and cardiovascular events, have not been reported with the use of bioidentical hormones.”
Kent Holtorf MD published a review article entitled, the Bioidentical Hormone Debate in Postraduate Medicine citing 196 medial studies showing bioidentical hromones are safer and more effetive than synthetics.
Left Image: Kent Holtorf MD, medical driector of busy bioidentical hormone practice in Califiornia.
The Truth About Hormone Therapy in the Wall Street Journal
Rather than rely on Pat Wingert’s Newsweek propaganda for the Drug Industry, you may want to read this recent Wall Street Journal article on bioidentical hormones, written by ERIKA SCHWARTZ MD , KENT HOLTORF MD, and DAVID BROWNSTEIN MD.
This is what they say:
“There are 25 years of scientific research with hundreds of studies in the U.S. and Europe that have demonstrated that bioidentical hormones, estradiol and micronized progesterone, are equally or more effective than synthetics — and safer. Yet mainstream medicine has buried its head in the sand and refused to take these studies seriously.”
Above left image: David Brownstein MD, medical director of busy bioidentical hormone practice in Michigan.
CW Randolph MD comments on the Newsweek attack article:
“Multiple medical studies have linked synthetic hormone replacement therapies, such Premarin and Prempro, to health risks such as breast and uterine cancers, heart attack, stroke. Meanwhile, recent medical research and multiple clinical studies validate the safety and efficacy of bioidentical hormone replacement therapies.”
Left Image: Courtesy of CW Randolph MD.
CW Randolph MD is director of the Natural Hormone Institute of America and runs a busy bioidentical hormone practivce in Jacksonville Florida.
How to Find a bioidentical hormone doctor in your area:
Try the doctor’s directory at these links:
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Links and References:
Live Your Best Life Ever! Wish Away Cancer! Get A Lunchtime Face-Lift! Eradicate Autism! Turn Back The Clock! Thin Your Thighs! Cure Menopause! Harness Positive Energy! Erase Wrinkles! Banish Obesity! Live Your Best Life Ever! By Weston Kosova and Pat Wingert | NEWSWEEK Published May 30, 2009 From the magazine issue dated Jun 8, 2009
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Is REAL Medical Science, Not Entertainment Medicine by C.W. Randolph, Jr., M.D., Medical Director of the Natural Hormone Institute.
Mainstream Medicine and the Oprah Factor by Deepak ChopraAuthor, Sirius radio host, founder of the Alliance for a New Humanity Posted: June 9, 2009
Did Anyone Else Think The Newsweek Photo of Oprah Was Misogynistic? And Just Plain Dumb? by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay
Newsweek decides to go the other way–withholding information seems the point. Reading this Newsweek article, you’d think there was really no difference between the synthetic hormones provided by drug companies and the bio-identical hormones that many doctors prescribe, but which are not produced by major drug companies. “They are actually synthetic, just like conventional hormones.” Hardly. Yes, they are both “man-made,” but the bioidenticals are created to have the same molecular structure as our own hormones. Synthetic are not, it’s a one size fits all approach that leaves many women with uncomfortable side effects. The bioidentical process is quite arduous, and requires lots of testing, but each woman gets a regimen much more suited to her body.
Was anybody troubled by the glib disclosure that Newsweek correspondent Pat Wingert, who worked on this article, wrote a book on menopause? Excuse me? Talk about a dog in the fight! I imagine she can’t be a big fan of bioidentical hormones in her book.
Pat Wingert. Coming to Newsweek after a nine-year journalism career in Chicago, Wingert had worked as a reporter for The Chicago Tribune from 1985 to 1986 and The Chicago Sun-Times from 1977 to 1984. While working at the Sun-Times, she worked as legman to Chicago’s legendary Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist, Mike Royko. A Chicago native, Wingert received a B.S. in journalism from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She resides in Washington D.C. with her husband Brian Kelly, the executive editor of U.S. News magazine, and their three children.
Newsweek’s Newspeak: Pharma’s Weapon Against Oprah By Jake Crosby Jake Crosby is a history student at Brandeis University
“More likely, the explanation is that 10 of the 31 pages of ads are for pharma, 5 of them for Wyeth, including an inside-cover triple-page ad. Naturally, a failing magazine is going to want to receive more ad dollars by running more articles pleasing to sponsors. It seems practical and makes sense, though unethical, dishonest, defamatory and morally reprehensible all at the same time. … Perhaps Newsweek can also run an article on the 5000 lawsuits Wyeth is facing for the damages attributed to its own, admittedly unnatural, FDA-approved version. If they did, it would help their case of proving Ms. Somers’ alleged belief wrong, that “the media” is “in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry.”…What matters is if Newsweek’s articles fit its agenda. In a magazine filled with pharma ads, accused in 2001 by five consumer groups of breaching journalism ethics by working with the lobby group PhRMA, having a special advertising relationship with pharmaceutical corporations and allowing its publication to be used by pharma lobbyists for public relations purposes, Newsweek’s agenda is no secret. One consumer advocate described Newsweek as “an infomercial masquerading as medical news” and “an example of corruption in journalism. Newsweek has surrendered its professional credentials by shamelessly engaging in disease mongering aimed at increasing profits for the mental health industry.”
CONSUMER GROUPS CRITICIZE NEWSWEEK FOR TRANSGRESSING ETHICAL BOUNDS BY WORKING WITH THE PHARMACEUTICAL DRUG LOBBY
Drug Lobby’s Exclusive Sponsorship of Newsweek’s Special Health Edition and Other Joint Efforts Improperly Aided Drug Lobby’s Agenda, Groups Claim
October 2, 2001 Contact: Dave Lemmon, Director of Communications
Geraldine Henrich-Koenis, Deputy Director of Communications
Robert Meissner, Press Secretary
Consumer Groups Criticize Newsweek for Transgressing Ethical
Bounds by Working with the Pharmaceutical Drug Lobby
Drug Lobby’s Exclusive Sponsorship of Newsweek’s Special Health Edition and
Other Joint Efforts Improperly Aided Drug Lobby’s Agenda, Groups Claim
Washington D.C. – Five national consumer organizations today charged Newsweek magazine with transgressing ethical bounds by working with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in a way that promotes the drug lobby’s public policy agenda. In a joint letter to Newsweek Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Richard M. Smith, the groups contended that, as a result of a “virtually unprecedented” special advertising relationship with the drug lobby, Newsweek allowed the drug lobby to use a supposedly independent media outlet “to promote its public policy agenda.”
MARCH 16, 2009 The Truth About Hormone Therapy Wall Street Journal
By ERIKA SCHWARTZ , KENT HOLTORF , and DAVID BROWNSTEIN
Mainstream medicine has been given a wake-up call on a matter critical to the health of 65 million women in the U.S. At issue are the options for treatment of menopause
Newsweek May Stop Weekly Circulation January 17 2009 Battered by a one-two punch of declining readership and ad pages, Newsweek magazine is getting an extreme makeover this year that will include a large circulation reduction, deep cuts in operating costs, and a new effort to attract advertisers by concentrating on an elite audience.
Can Newsweek relight the readership flame? The newsweekly aims to carve out a perch among its many competitors with a new, deeper focus. But dwindling circulation in the magazine industry points to a tough battle ahead. James Rainey May 20, 2009
Newsweek on Oprah: Pot calling the kettle black when it comes to bioidentical hormones? Dr. Mitchell Matez, D.O. Sanctuary Medical Aesthetic Center, Boca Raton
You Go, Oprah! by Jeanne Supin , But the real secret is Oprah remains steadfastly relevant, and Newsweek does not. Unfortunately at a time when we most benefit from national dialog, Newsweek chooses to be a gasping periodical in a dying industry, regurgitating the same empty story week-after-week, with writers and editors — no matter how skilled and well-intentioned — increasingly talking only to the shrinking pool of people just like themselves. ..There’s a whole new world out here, far larger than Newsweek’s antiquated universe. Maybe if they took some bioidentical hormones they’d finally feel well enough to find it, join it, and share that story.
Two Scariest Women on the Planet – Oprah and Suzanne by Suzanne Somers 6/4/2009 Have you seen this week’s Newsweek magazine? Here we go again! They have a new article on how Oprah is giving “dangerous” advice by having uninformed guests give false information to the public. First of all, how dare they alter Oprah’s image for that cover! It’s out of focus, and they have obviously added bags and shadowing under her eyes to make her look crazed and scary.
Postgraduate Medicine: Volume 121: No.1 Jan 2009.
The Bioidentical Hormone Debate:Are Bioidentical Hormones (Estradiol, Estriol, and Progesterone) Safer or More Efficacious than Commonly Used Synthetic Versions in Hormone Replacement Therapy? Kent Holtorf, MD
Conclusion: Physiological data and clinical outcomes demonstrate that bioidentical hormones are associated with lower risks, including the risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, and are more efficacious than their synthetic and animalderived counterparts. Until evidence is found to the contrary, bioidentical hormones remain the preferred method of HRT. Further randomized controlled trials are needed to delineate these differences more clearly.
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(c) 2009 Jeffrey Dach MD All Rights Reserved
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